As the President of the United States and Big Media compete for the title of “Last Credible Entity in America,” chalk up yet another loss for Big Media. First there was CNN’s overwrought reaction to the Trump wrestling tweet — capped by Andrew Kaczynski’s not-so-subtle threat to the GIF creator. And now this: a New York Times story that reports as “news” a laughable tweet from a blatant parody account.
Last night the New York Times reported:
The Trump administration on Tuesday confirmed North Korea’s claim that it had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, but it told Pyongyang that the United States would use “the full range of capabilities at our disposal against the growing threat.”
The administration followed up that warning with a joint military exercise in which United States and South Korean forces fired missiles in the waters along the Peninsula’s east coast as a show of power.
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said the North’s missile launch earlier in the day was a milestone in its efforts to build nuclear weapons capable of hitting the American mainland.
On Twitter early Wednesday, the North Korean government belittled the joint exercise as “demonstrating near total ignorance of ballistic science.”
The source for the claim about North Korea’s Twitter ramblings? A parody account. Here is the tweet that fooled the New York Times yesterday:
Imbecilic Americans drunkenly fire missiles into East Sea of Korea, demonstrating near total ignorance of ballistic science. pic.twitter.com/Yye1Kksvh7
— DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) July 4, 2017
The “DPRK News Service” Twitter account is run primarily by “Patrick Non-White,” a sometime blogger at Popehat.com who has been pulling the wool over the eyes of Big Media types for years. In April 2016, the Washington Post interviewed the authors in a piece that began:
The statements that come out of the North Korean propaganda machine often seem like parody, with denunciations of “imperialist puppets” and “running dogs” and threats to turn enemy countries into a “nuclear sea of fire.”
That means that many people fall for the outlandish statements put out by DPRK News Service, a satirical Twitter account with an uncanny ability to replicate the tone and peculiar vocabulary of Pyongyang’s agitprop department. (DPRK is the abbreviation of North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.) A bunch of media outlets have also fallen for the account, including Newsweek, Fox News, BuzzFeed and, ahem, The Washington Post.
You can add the New York Times to that list.
The New York Times story published last night has since been corrected, but the version quoted above — published at 8:08 p.m. Eastern time — was preserved at the indispensable NewsDiffs.org web site. According to NewsDiffs, the line was removed at 8:53 p.m. At 10:08 p.m., the editors fessed up and added a correction:
Correction: July 4, 2017
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article attributed incorrectly a Twitter statement to the North Korean government. The North Korean government did not belittle a joint American-South Korean military exercise as “demonstrating near total ignorance of ballistic science,” that statement was from the DPRK News Service, a parody Twitter account.
Layers and layers of editors!
It is interesting that it took them from 8:53 p.m. until 10:08 p.m. to issue the written acknowledgment of the error, even though the article had already been edited to remove the reference to the parody tweet. Were they waiting to see if anyone had noticed?
It should be child’s play to demonstrate that you are more credible than Donald Trump. But these days, Big Media is losing that fight.